If you haven’t met Kirk Dekens, of Gladstone, or you’ve heard the name but can’t put a face to it we recently caught up with him.
Kirk and his father Joe arrived in Gladstone in the heart of winter on July 27, 2007.
They journeyed from Perth WA, embarked from the Indian Pacific passenger train at Port Augusta and hired a taxi for the 120km trip to Gladstone.
They arrived at 3am, shivered on the veranda of their house in George Street and waited until the arrival of the real estate agent at 9am to hand over the key.
Their cottage is one of the oldest sandstone houses in Gladstone, built in 1869.
Kirk was born in Adelaide in 1970, moved with the family to Tarlee where he attended primary school. He also has good memories of his time at Riverton High School and still recalls the names of his favourite teachers.
Kirk’s father, a severe diabetic, died in 2008, a devastating loss for Kirk. His brother, Ray, of Adelaide, visited Gladstone to assess Kirk’s future, with the preferred option of moving him to the city.
After visiting Gladstone, Ray soon realised that the best outcome for Kirk was, indeed, to stay in Gladstone.
He found he had become a valued member of the community, was accepted and cared for and was enjoying the life and security a small country community offered.
This acceptance and care continues to this day.
Kirk celebrated his 40th birthday in late August and is pleased to live in and own one of the oldest houses in Gladstone – this year it turned 121 years.